Oklahoma at Denver
Have a great Easter everyone and we’re ready with a late free NBA tip, for the 3rd game of the match up between Denver and Oklahoma.
A two-game lead has the Oklahoma City Thunder flying high as they visit the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series Saturday. The fourth-seeded Thunder did what they needed to do, winning the first two games in Oklahoma City behind strong performances from Kevin Durant and Kevin Westbrook. As the scene shifts to Colorado, the Nuggets will undoubtedly look to use their home-court advantage to get back into the series.
Arron Afflalo is back to save the Nuggets. Can he do it ? I doubt it. The Denver guard will take the court for the first time in two weeks. Though, he has no idea how many minutes he can handle or if the hamstring will even hold up. One thing is sure, he will play limited minutes. His bothersome hamstring cost him 13 games over the final month of the regular season, interrupting the team’s chemistry.
In the same time, the bickering in Denver went a bit off track. George Karl made some remarks about JR Smith and Chris Anderson and the way they understand the game. Denver did a better job of containing the Thunder’s dynamic duo on Wednesday, but the Nuggets’ offense fizzled from the outset as Oklahoma City opened up a 16-point first-quarter lead and cruised to a 106-89 victory. Ty Lawson led the way with 20 points while Nene overcame a 2-for-8 shooting performance to add 16 points. Thanks in large part to the presence of since-departed Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets were the highest-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season. Denver hasn’t shown the same chops since Anthony was dealt to New York and is averaging just 96 points in the playoffs. The Nuggets have also beaten up on the boards, outrebounded by a 91-65 margin through the first two games.
Oklahoma proved this year’s record, by winning the first tow games of the matchup. On Wednesday, Durant had 23 points and Westbrook added 21, but three other Thunder players finished in double figures. Oklahoma used a 19-3 first-quarter run to jump out early, and Durant and Wesbrook combined for eight straight points in the fourth after the Nuggets closed the deficit to 10. The Thunder big men showed plenty of tenacity, snagging 17 offensive rebounds in Game 2. Kendrick Perkins had a game-high six offensive boards, more than the entire Denver roster. If the Thunder continue to dominate on the glass to this extent, this series may not make it back to Oklahoma City.
A few important information:
Durant (32 points per game) and Westbrook (26 ppg) outscored Denver’s starting five in Game 1, and likely would have done the same in Game 2 had the game not been decided so early. Nuggets G J.R. Smith is shooting just 28.6 percent (4 for 14) in the series and has missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
Thunder are 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings.
Thunder are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games.
Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
Today’s free NBA tip is : Take Oklahoma +5 @1,80 at Sportsinteraction